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Human resources management: the art of H2H


Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of DMCC, talks about the significance of human resources

March 18, 2014 2:00 by

The human resources (HR) function is a strategic one that supports the backbone of all organisations. On a daily basis it performs critical tasks such as gathering, evaluating and managing employees’ performance, as well as handling staff requests and meeting recruitment requirements just to name a few. On a strategic basis, the HR function is about building an environment for a company to be able to thrive and conduct business with the strongest team possible. Good leadership is enabled through good management of human resources, a responsibility that is entrusted to every manager and head of a function whom is in charge of motivating and building a high performance team. The reality is that the proper execution of HR management will significantly differentiate those companies who will either flourish or fail.


Given that in many industries, human resources can account for a significant proportion of operating costs, the role of human resources and its management can go a long way in supporting a company’s ongoing success. As one of the few roles within any organisation that has significant direct impact on all personnel, HR is a role that requires many different skill sets, ranging from high levels of diplomacy to ruthless efficiency. For this reason, a weakened HR department can have a potentially catastrophic rippling effect through a company; a recent example cited by international HR expert Dr. John Sullivan as former banking giant Bear Stearns.


During a recent DMCC Knowledge Series event, focused towards the HR community; industry professionals voted that the most valuable quality for an HR manager to possess is ‘a clear passion’ for their respective organisation, a quality that finished ahead of reliability to their former employers or for having a strong social network in business. If anything, this response highlighted the truth that the art of HR cannot be found in reading books alone, but moreover honed as a highly intuitive role that demands patience, openness and constant communication.


The good news is, in today’s market, technology has helped to make communication easy for everyone: BBM, E-mail, Twitter, WhatsApp etc.; I believe there is no excuse for not ensuring a constant dialogue between employees. This is where art meets science, in the same way one can reach a critical decision in business, whatever its value, it will always come down to people’s ability to connect and reach a joint understanding, and it is this that managing human resources entails.


Communication and alignment are often the most important factors, as many of the messages and behaviours of a company trickle down from the role models that the company has in its leadership team, thus HR management is most important at this level. A disgruntled junior employee can hurt the reputation and good standing of a firm; however a disgruntled leader within a firm can lead to far more damaging outcomes.


A recent example that has been discussed in the media relates to the former partner of a reputable audit firm; this disgruntled employee went to the media with confidential information and attempted to smear the name of his former client and employer. Once an employee decides to take matters into their own hands, the organisation has failed to manage its resources appropriately and the damage can be irreversible. An employee should never feel like they cannot communicate with their own organisation in an open and honest manner, hence why at DMCC, transparency and professionalism are among our core values, something that every employee is accountable to upholding.


Good communication leads to good alignment, and the textbook definition of what alignment means in a high performance organisation is exemplified by the story of a presidential visit to the U.S space agency, NASA, during the time of its original mission to reach the moon.


The late U.S President John F. Kennedy bumped into a janitor while touring the NASA facilities and asked him, ‘What is your job at NASA?’ to which the janitor promptly replied, ‘I am helping put a man on the moon.’


Alignment starts with communication and understanding of how every member fits into the bigger picture of a company; something that is enabled through communication and mutual respect.


All of the above leads to the basic common denominator for every business, whether it exists in a B2B or B2C environment, the most important connection will always be H2H (human to human). Understanding each other, appreciating cultural differences and working collaboratively to reach personal and organisational ambitions is all about H2H. At DMCC we are constantly reminded that success is the product of partnership and as a partner and close friend of the company Ade Garrick recently reminded me, “Success has no nationality and neither do commodities”.


This is also in line with DMCC’s values, ‘the three ps’: people, partner and place. Our people (employees) are the heart and soul of our business and without them DMCC’s objectives would be out of reach. We support empowerment initiatives such as Emiratisation and constantly invest in people and nurture individuals showing passion and motivation to grow and support the vision of Dubai. People that come to DMCC and want to grow and learn have to first learn that they can make mistakes once, but never the same mistake twice.

Over the past few years, some DMCC employees have left to pursue other opportunities. I don’t always feel bad with the situation, I know it’s the experience and brand of DMCC that has helped the individual in securing that role and that makes me proud. Our CEO has often said that high-performance organisations are not only able to retain its employees but also ensure they remain ‘employable’ by investing and upgrading their skills and development potential.


At DMCC the winning formula includes creating a high performance culture that embraces competition, hunger to succeed and drive to exceed expectations through respect, collaboration and clear communication.  Our formula also includes employee engagement and empowerment strategies that reward ‘can-do’ attitudes as well as those who are capable of embracing positive change in order to support innovation and delivery for our company and the UAE.




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